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The SportsThink Weekly Review #52
July 30, 2021
Hello and welcome to the fifty-second edition of the Weekly Review! Is it just me, or is it a particularly busy sports summer??? The rescheduled Olympics and NBA draft are certainly factors here, but we’ve also got NIL, NCAA conference realignment, MLB trade madness…and the rescheduled Euros feel like a decade ago already. After last week’s all-Olympic edition, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming (with some Olympics). Something for everyone to enjoy this weekend—possibly poolside, or drenched in AC—wherever you may be trying to avoid the heat and/or the Delta variant.
On to the content!
Inside the Lines: My Favorite Sports Reads of The Week
We Will Curse You, by Caroline Wazer, via Lapham’s Quarterly. From 2018. A great read on the history of “performance-enhancing curses” in sport. Starts off insane: I wasn’t familiar with the 6th century Byzantine chariot-racing riots that lefts tens of thousands dead. Wild.
What’s the Hardest Olympic Sport? by Daniel Kolitz, via Gizmodo. A bunch of nerds sound off on the question at hand, including SportsThinker and renowned Capital City Cobras first baseman, Matt Bowers. Fun read, even if they didn’t have the decency to ask me to contribute the correct answer: skateboarding.
The King and His Court, by Eric Nusbaum and Adam Villacin, via Sports Stories. Deep down, I knew that Eric and Adam would eventually have dedicate an issue to Eddie Feigner, the greatest pitcher who ever lived. If you haven’t heard of him, it might be because Feigner was a barnstorming softball player, who’s 4 (!!) man team would just destroy everyone in sight, including several MLB legends. Read the story, then head to youtube and have some fun.
The Chinese Sports Machine’s Single Goal: The Most Golds, at Any Cost, by Hannah Beech, via the NYT. Well done. On the often less-than-savory state-run Chinese sport system. Before we pat ourselves on the back, friendly reminder that American parents find a way to replicate much of this behavior without the help of the government.
The Strange 19th-Century Sport That Was Cooler Than Football, by Zaria Gorvett, via the BBC. It was the most eagerly anticipated sporting event of the era, steeped in a kind of mania the world had rarely seen before. The contestants were already international celebrities, and arrived with an entourage of their own dieticians, doctors, chefs, dedicated sports masseurs and trainers – who often recommended that they drank champagne as they went. Yes, this was pedestrianiasm, as in: walking, which was quite the rage in Victorian times. Very nicely done piece of history.
Tweet of the Week
Well this is weird and fun.
Sports-adjacent: in honor of ZZ Top’s Dusty Hill, who passed away this week at 72, here’s a story about the time Dusty and the boys brought the house down at Texas Memorial Stadium (yes, the same building that I’m currently sitting in). “ZZ Top's First Annual Texas Size Rompin' Stompin' Barn Dance and Bar B.Q.” was so out of control that it would take 20 years for the UT folks to let another concert take place in the stadium. And here’s some home video. RIP Mr. Hill.
As always, thank you for reading. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re having trouble accessing any articles, happy to send them directly your way. And, if you’re enjoying the newsletter, please consider sharing it with someone else who might like it.
See you next week,